Jan. 31, 2004
SEATTLE - Two world-leading marks, eight top-10 U.S. marks, seven facility records and two Washington school records kept an enthusiastic Dempsey Indoor crowd on its feet Saturday at the Husky Invitational, featuring top-20 collegiate squads Washington, USC, UCLA, Stanford and BYU, as well as hundreds of small-college and post-collegiate athletes.
With a nearly 1,000 athletes competing and another 1,000 spectators in attendance, the energy in the building was palpable from the first event of the day, which saw UCLA All-American Cari Soong break her own facility record with a mark of 67 feet, 8 1/4 inches in the weight throw, the seventh-best mark by an American woman this year.
It was in the afternoon, however, that the drama built to a fever pitch. Former Stanford star Malindi Elmore became the first to run to the top of the IAAF World Rankings on Saturday, winning the 3,000 meters in a time of 9 minutes, 0.27 seconds that was nine seconds below the 2004 world best entering Saturday's competion. Scarcely 30 minutes later, former Pac-10 record holder Toby Stevenson electrified the crowd yet again with a first-attempt clearance of 19-0 3/4 in the pole vault, 1/4 inch beyond current world leader Derek Miles.
Former Olympian Bolota Asmeron also cracked the IAAF's top-10 2004 world bests list with a time of 7:48.59 in the 3,000 meters, 10th-best among marks entering Saturday's night's Boston Indoor Games.
It wasn't only the post-collegians making waves, however, as Washington athletes accounted for two school records, four of the top-10 collegiate marks in the nation this season, and 10 marks among the UW's top-10 all-time.
An early indication that the Husky Invitational would go down as a record-breaker came Friday night, when both of Washington's distance medley relay squads shattered school records and qualified provisionally for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Freshman Carl Moe, who in his UW debut in January became the eighth-fastest miler in Husky history, ran a four-minute mile split to blow past UCLA's Jon Rankin and anchor the UW men to a winning mark of 9:38.09, second-fastest by a collegiate team this year. The Husky women also put on a show, clocking a time of 11:23.12 that was 12 seconds below the previous UW best, and fourth-fastest in the nation in 2004.
Fortunately, Moe saved some speed for Saturday's 3,000 meters, roaring from behind over the last 300 meters to finish in 8:02.82, third-fastest ever at Washington and the top time in history for a UW freshman. Moe, who with the result earned his second NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of the weekend, was joined on the UW's all-time 3,000-meter list by junior Lindsey Egerdahl, whose mark of 9:35.08 ranks fifth in school history, and was just .08 shy of the NCAA's provisional standard.
"Holy cow, what a meet!" said second-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "The place was just going nuts today, and that energy flowed right into our kids. Being able to bring athletes like Malindi Elmore and Bolota Asmeron to our meets is a huge benefit to our athletes, who are able to see firsthand just what it takes to be among the best in the world. It's no coincidence that school and facility records were falling all over the place - when the energy level is as high as it was today, as an athlete you feel that there is nothing you can't accomplish."
Junior All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma vaulted her way into the NCAA Championships field, earning a provisional berth with a clearance of 13-1 1/2, bettered only by the 14-foot clearance of UCLA's Chelsea Johnson, a mark currently among the top-10 by an American woman this year. Likewise, freshman Ashley Lodree continued to impress, lowering her freshman-record 60-meter hurdles best to 8.44 seconds while qualifying for Pac-10 Championships competition in the long jump.